Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Shopping with Mom

Another milestone has been reached for Bean this past month.  She is now deemed big enough to sit in the shopping cart all by herself!  Since we no longer bring her in and out of places in her car seat carrier (we just pick her out of it and leave the carrier in the car), she has to sit in the shopping cart like the big kids do!

I have a shopping cart cover that she gets harnessed into.  The first time I put her in the cart with the cover, the trip started off fine, but slowly as the trip went on, Bean sank further and further down.  Now that we've gone a couple times, she is much better about sitting in it and lasts pretty much the whole trip.  The following pictures mark our first trip with her sitting in the cart:

(She was very excited at the start of the trip.  She loved being able to look around and see all that was going on.)

(About halfway through, she was getting a little tipsy and couldn't keep herself upright.  I had to help support her with one hand and push the cart with the other.)

(And finally, we gave up on her sitting in the cart and I let her lay down.  She probably would have fallen asleep if she had music to listen to and if it was darker in the store.  Who knew grocery shopping was so tiring?  Oh wait a minute.  All shoppers know how tiring it is to get groceries!)

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

8 Months!

(Sporting her Flamingo romper that I made her)

Our little Bean is 8 months old!  I'm not really sure exactly when it happened, but she seems to be such a big girl now.  She can entertain herself by playing with toys and crawls all over the house.

This past month has been one of the hardest months.  It has been plagued with little sleep and lots of fussiness.  I recognize that I am blessed and spoiled with a very happy baby.  However, even the happiest babies still cry. And boy has she done a lot of that this month!  Bean is now back to getting up multiple times at night.  For about a week, she was also fighting naps, but then another tooth popped up and she is back to loving naps.

I thought that maybe her fussiness and sleeping issues were just linked to being thrown off schedule while on vacation, but we've been home almost a month now and things haven't gotten any better.  I now realize, that I'm just encouraging her to get up at night, since I go and feed her when she cries.  Pretty soon, we'll have to go the "cry it out" route, but I'm just not there yet.  I know I can be in and out of her room and have her fed and back asleep in 10 minutes.  I'm just not ready to lay there listening to her cry herself back to sleep.  So I'll just keep complaining about waking up with her ;-).

Vacation really changed this girl!  She came back a different babe.  The biggest difference is change in her routine.  She now eats solids 4 times a day, nurses 4-5 times, and is down to only 2 naps.  Her schedule now looks like this (note -- her day's schedule is based on the time she gets up, which can be anywhere from 7-8:30):

7:30 - Wake up, nurse, play in jumper
8:30 - Eat breakfast (some sort of baby cereal w/fruit), crawl and play on floor with toys
9:30 - Nap time!
11/11:30 - wake up, nurse, play either on floor or jumper
12:30 - Eat Lunch (veggies & fruit), continuing playing
2/2:30 - Nap time!
4/4:30 - wake up, nurse, crawl around and play
5:30 - Eat dinner (veggies & fruit), play in jumper (or with daddy!)
7:30 - Eat snack (baby cereal mixed with formula)
7:45 - Bath time
8:00 - nurse and hopefully sleep, sometimes she'll stay awake until 9/9:30

I am able to get a lot of stuff done since Bean can play on her own.  When she's in the jumper, though, she tends to cry whenever I leave the room.  I've noticed she would rather be down and crawling than in the jumper.  But sometimes (especially after eating because she'll spit up) it is nice to have her contained in that toy and she'll quickly get over it and amuse herself in it.  I am able to leave the room when she's down and crawling, but I'm constantly popping back in and checking on her.  There really isn't much on her level that can get her into trouble, so usually I just listen to her playing (and can tell what she's doing by her noises).

I love watching Bean play and learn to do new things.  Recently, she's taught herself how to sit up while playing with her toys.  She's not totally sitting on her own, but is able to prop herself up by leaning on one arm and sitting on her hip.  Pretty soon, I'm guessing she's going to start pulling up on things and *gasp* walk!  With learning new things, that also means she's starting to get into things she shouldn't like pulling all the photo books out of the coffee table shelf, touching air vents, and trying to reach for electrical chords and plugs.  There for awhile, we were slapping her hand for touching the air vents, but we realized that with them all over the house, we would have to be hovering over her at all times to prevent it.  So we gave up on that (which has kind of worked because now she's disinterested in them) but will lightly slap her hand over some of the other stuff (especially with the plugs as we want her to learn they are dangerous).

Now we just have to work on the speech.  She babbles constantly, but we've not noticed any particular patterns or words.  She can say "da-da", but she says that about everything (although Steve will argue that she's just wanting daddy all the time).  She does love to mimic sounds we make, like blowing raspberries, yelling, and growling.  Now if only I could get her to mimic "mom-ma".  I'm not getting very far on that one.

Bean has officially graduated into #2 diapers.  There for awhile, she was in #2s at night, and #1s during the day.  She is now in solely in #2s.  She currently wears size 9monhts & 12months in clothes.  She wears a lot of onesies and rompers since it has been so warm out.  At night, she just sleeps in a onesie.  Sometimes I'll put pants on her to sleep in (and to crawl in), but she doesn't seem to care if she has pants on or not.

As for food, Bean is pretty much able to eat all baby food now.  I was really nervous about introducing wheat into her diet since my mom is celiac and Steve's mom has gluten intolerance.  But so far, she doesn't seem to have any issues - what a relief!  New foods this month include oatmeal, applesauce, macaroni & cheese, berries, peach, and puffs.  I've started to notice that she'll refuse foods (even if she ate it fine earlier in the day).  She definitely loves bananas and sweet potatoes.  She doesn't like peach (unless mixed with other things like squash and apples) and has started to refuse green beans.  When she refuses something, I generally blend it in with something else and she's okay with that.

(Hanging outside while Momma & Daddy work on landscaping.  She is not a fan of grass and pretty much stayed on the blanket.  Another change this month - she'll use other pacifiers than her preferred "gumdrop".  Although, she'll just chew on the other ones and not really suck.)

(For Father's day, Bean got daddy a matching Ikea chair.  Okay, so I guess that's not a gift for daddy, but the two can now bond in their matching chairs.)

(Such a big girl trying to sit up while playing!  Notice all the balls in the picture?  They belong to the toy that she's sitting in front of.  She can hit the hand all by herself which makes the toy sings and sends the balls down the slide.  She loves it.)

(Trying to show off her new tooth.  She now has her 2 front bottom teeth.)

(Big girls now bathe in big tubs!  Even though I hate having to bend over the big tub to wash her, it is so much better having her bathe in her tub in the big tub instead of on the sink.  Now I don't have to worry about her falling out.  She seems to enjoy bath time much better now, too.  She loves to splash and play with her rubber duckies.)

(Seriously, doesn't she look so big?!  She now sits in her booster seat at least 4 times a day.  She also uses a sippy cup to drink water and can feed herself puffs!  While I'm working on dinner, I'll either have her sitting in the chair eating puffs, or just roaming around the kitchen floor.  She has discovered measuring spoons and cups and absolutely loves playing with them.  One evening, she held a measuring spoon for a solid hour!)

(Even though she's become such a big girl, she's still a baby!  I love looking at her sleeping with her pacifier and blanket.  She's really become attached to this little blanket my sister crocheted for her.  She now sleeps with it for every nap & at night, and takes it with her to church.  We still don't have a video monitor, so for the longest time I wasn't sure how she was sleeping - since she's always on her hands and knees crying when I go in and get her.  I had to wake her up from a nap one afternoon and discovered she's a tummy sleeper - just like her momma!)

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Strawberry Pick'n & Weekend Fun

Last weekend, we went to a local farm and picked our own strawberries.  We went with our friends Jonathan and Candace and had a fun time! We look forward to next year when Bean can actually participate in the process!

(We did our Strawberry picking at Suter's Farm.  They supplied the buckets, and we got to fill them with delicious strawberries for $7.50! We were confused at first as to which lanes we were told to pick in.  We figured it out and got to work.)

(We weren't sure how it was going to work with Bean, so we just brought her big stroller since it shades her the best.  We parked her nearby and would check on her as we picked.  We could hear her babbling from our row and she had a good time just watching all the people.)

(Hi Bean!)

(Don't let the minimal amount of strawberries in the bucket fool you, we left with a full gallon bucket! We were probably out there 30 minutes or so.  The weather was beautiful!)

So what did I do with all those strawberries??  About half of them were sliced, sugared, and frozen.  The other half was eaten throughout the week and used to make strawberry shortcake cupcakes! My very good friend Sara has her own cupcake business (Sara's Sweets) and I was nervous to make cupcakes for a gathering with our friends, but I did it anyway! Steve loved the cupcakes.  I thought they were good, but I'd tweak the recipe a little bit for next time.

(I had to make the batter, pour half in the cups, then put in strawberries, then the other half of the batter on top.  The batter was really thick and didn't pour over the strawberries like I had hoped - something I'd tweak for next time!)

(Yum-o!  I sent this picture to my cupcake friend before bringing them to the gathering.  She said I needed to work on the icing, haha - I  cheated and just used redi-whip in the can.  I told her I couldn't make a perfect cupcake, then I'd steal her business!)

Bonus Photos:
(I brought the cupcakes to our small group picnic.  While there, Sara wanted to go down the slide and used Bean as a rouse to go down it.)

(Bean's first slide experience!  No tears means it was a success!  I thought the slide looked super tall, so Sara is just going to have to take Bean to the park and slide so I don't have to freak out over its height.)

Thursday, June 12, 2014

CA Trip - Going Home

Bean didn't sleep the best on the last night, meaning neither did we!  I think she ended up in bed with us when she woke up a little after 3.  Since I had my alarm set for 3:45 to finish up packing, I went ahead and got up early.  Once Steve woke up, we could put the last things in the suitcases and order up an Uber car.  It's like a private taxi service, but all the ordering and paying is through the app.  It was very convenient!

While we waited for the car, I successfully transferred a sleeping Bean into her carseat while Steve took our luggage outside.  I waited for the car with Bean asleep in the carseat next to the luggage while Steve did a final sweep of the apartment and locked it up.  The car came quickly and the driver was super nice and helpful.  He loaded up the luggage while I tried to put the carseat in.  Once he was done, he crawled in the backseat and helped me secure Bean.  He was very talkative and told us all about his little girls on the way to the airport.

Once we got there, I had to wake Bean up and transfer her to the carrier.  We then had to wait in a very long check-in line to check our baggage, carseat, and stroller.  It ended up moving quicker than I expected and we headed off to security.  I got held up at the ticket check because the attendant thought I needed to have a note on my ticket saying I had a baby with me.  After checking with his manager, he finally accepted that we didn't need any special clearance and we made it through security without anymore issues.  I was all worried about flying with a baby because of the whole security process, but it actually was quite simple.  I was able to just keep her strapped to me in the carrier and walk through the regular metal detector.  I had to have my hands swabbed for explosives, but that was the only difference  between me with the baby and Steve (although, on the way in, we both had our hands swabbed).

We didn't have too long to wait for our plane.  We were able to do bathroom stops, I changed Bean, and Steve got us some breakfast to share.  We loaded up on the plane and Bean fell asleep as we waited for our plane's turn to take off.  I was trying to time it out that she would eat as we took off so that it wouldn't bother her ears, but apparently being asleep didn't bother them, either!  She took a good nap for the first part of the plane.  When she was awake, she was touching everything, but at least stayed quiet.  She ended up falling asleep again at the end of the flight, too.  When we landed and were gathering up everything, the people in front of us turned around and said they didn't realize we had a baby with us! Then of course, everyone was gushing about what a good (and cute) baby she is.  We know :).

We were surprised about how hot it was in Detroit when we got to our car! We had left sweatshirt and jeans weather behind in CA and came home to 80+ degree heat.  Bean slept the entire car ride back to our house.  I think she slept more in that one travel day than a couple of days in CA combined.  Since coming home, Bean has really been struggling in the sleeping/napping departments.  We were hoping she just needed to adjust to being back home, but 2 weeks is long enough to adjust!

Thoughts on travelling with Bean:

She did way better than I had anticipated.  I know she has an easygoing personality, but she still exceeded my expectations.  I had prepared for Bean and I to have to spend some time alone at the apartment in the afternoons and let Steve venture out, but that was never needed.  In fact, we left Steve int he apartment while Bean & I ventured out (even if it was for a quick mini-mart stop).

I do think that not having her on a schedule helped, but it definitely screwed her up when it came to bedtime.  I tried to also keep the bedtime routine the same and around the same time, but I could always tell the days she didn't nap well by how she slept that night.  Missed naps always catch up to you!

Things I learned:

Next time, I'd have a better sleeping arrangement planned.  I don't really know what that entails though, ha.  I guess we could have taken the quilt and some pillows and made a bigger bed on the floor for her to roll around or maybe even try to bring a small air mattress.

I'd also have a better way for her to play.  We didn't feel like the floor was the cleanest and didn't have access to a vacuum.  I thought if only I had a very large blanket or sheet for her to play on! That would be something easy to pack and bring (now the fight will be to keep her on it!).

Using both the stroller and carrier worked out great!  She was able to nap in the carrier and it made it easier to keep her contained while going on and off buses.  The stroller was nice to be able to put our backpack and coats on and to also keep her contained when we stopped for breaks.  The stroller was also very convenient during eating times!  She was able to sit in that while we ate dinner, and I was able to feed baby food in it.  Since coming home, we've kept that small stroller open in the house and I often put her in it to move her from room to room.

This vacation was definitely different than our other vacations in the fact that I never felt like I was on vacation.  I realized while on the trip, that my job as a mom is 24/7.  I don't get to step away and take a vacation from that, which has its positives and negatives.  I probably worked harder while we were in CA than I would at home, but it was worth it.  I enjoyed getting to see the sights and especially enjoyed getting to soak up all that family time with Steve.  He's already starting to research the next trip, while I'm just trying to survive our current normal with a very cranky baby.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

CA Trip - Golden Gate Park

On our last day in San Francisco, we were able to meet up with Steve's brother Ian for the day.  We took the morning slow and made our way to our meeting spot.  We had quite the experience on the bus ride there involving a homeless man bumming a ride and upsetting the bus driver.  He refused to move the bus until the man was off, but the man wasn't all there and eventually another bus rider paid for the man. The driver didn't really care about the money, he was upset that the man had been doing it all week.

Before meeting with Ian, we jumped off the bus at Alamo Square Park to see the famous painted ladies.  We thought we had about 15 minutes until the next bus came, but it came in half the time and we couldn't get to it in time.  Since we missed that bus, we had to wait almost 20 minutes for the next bus.  Sorry Ian :)

(These are the most famous painted ladies in San Francisco!  A painted lady is just a Victorian house that is painted in bold colors.)

(It was around this time that we looked over at the bus stop and realized we were missing the bus, oops!  We are standing up on the hill in Alamo Square Park that is featured on the opening to Full House)

We met up with Ian and began our day meandering around Golden Gate Park.  We had anticipated the weather to be warmer than it was and wished we had brought more layers with us (Ian was in shorts!).  It was really overcast and foggy in the park which made it seem much cooler.  While walking around the park, we came across a yo-yo competition and watched a few of the competitors.  We continued walking and hit different areas of the park - the buffalo paddock, dutch windmill, walking trail around a pond, and even had to walk through a frisbee golf course.  In the middle of all that walking, we walked to a Chinese restaurant and warmed up with some yummy food (I had some raspberry sweet and sour chicken, and it was amazing!).

(We debated on going through this flower garden, but were too cheap to pay the price.  We just enjoyed the pretty flowers in the landscaping instead.)

(Being shoobs and watching the yo-yo competition.)

(Pretty bridge by the pond we walked around.  You could rent paddle boats and go around the water, but we decided it'd be too hard to balance Bean in her stroller on a boat, haha, I kid.)

(Uncle Ian pushing Bean!  Check out those socks!  Those are the ones that are like knee-highs and hard for her to get off.  We had to keep her pretty bundled in the cold weather!  This was probably our coldest day.)

(The one thing I wanted to see in the park -- the buffalo! And what a disappointment. Haha.  I had it in my head they would be roaming around and I could see them up close.  I guess they could walk around that whole pasture but they were all just staying up in their stalls, lame-o.)

(The sun was finally starting to come out and we were warming up.  Poor Ian was in the middle of moving and didn't have access to anything other than shorts.  He claimed it wasn't that bad, but looking at him made me cold!)

(Checking out a dutch windmill in the middle of San Francisco, no big deal.  Ha)

Halfway through the day, the sun came out and it finally warmed up.  After we finished up the Golden Gate Park, we walked to Lands End.  From there, we were able to see a good view of the Golden Gate Bridge and walk part of the coastal Trail.  We debated on walking all the way to the bridge (5ish miles), but it was late afternoon and we were getting hungry and tired.  Okay, Steve and I were getting tired and we were slowing Ian down, ha!  We ended up taking a bus back to the area where we had eaten lunch and found a pizza place for dinner.  The place just picked one kind of pizza each day and cranked it out.  We happened to get the last pizza of the day!  They closed as we were eating, so we took the pizza outside and ate.

(This area used to have a huge bath house that was privately owned but opened to the public right before the turn of the century.  The Sutro Baths ended up being unprofitable and was rumored to have been set on fire for insurance profit.  Now you can only see the foundation of the building.)

(Another view of the Sutro Baths at Lands End)

(We had to stop and take a sunscreen break.  Bean enjoyed bonding with Uncle Ian and Steve caught one of their moments in this picture.)

(Christmas Card Photo)

(Ian did most of the stroller pushing while walking the coastal trail.  At some points, he and Bean were a ways ahead of us slow pokes.)

(It sometimes gets awkward walking behind the stroller because your feet will hit the under part of the stroller, so when going downhill, it's easier to have two people hold it and walk down.  Well, it should have been easier, but we weren't communicating well and the stroller kept veering off in one direction.  Ian kept yelling at me that it was my fault, but I plead the 5th.)

It worked out that we needed the same train as Ian to get back to our apartment.  We rode it to a BART station together where we said our goodbyes and he traveled out of the city.  We left the station and caught a bus to get back to our apartment -- our last bus of the trip! We got back to the apartment in time for Bean's bedtime routine and for me to start packing!  Bean really fought going to sleep and was pretty needy.  I finally signed her off to her daddy at 9:30, because I had to pack! We had to be ready for pickup at 4:30am!

(And this is why Bean fought going to bed so much -- she completely zonked for the short bus ride home.  We did our hardest to entertain her and keep her awake, but when this girl is tired and on a moving vehicle, it's nearly impossible to keep her awake.  How can we be upset with this cute girl?!)

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

CA Trip - Chinatown & Off The Grid

All week long, our bus rides would take us through Chinatown, but it wasn't on our itinerary to experience until Friday morning.  We headed towards the main entrance - Dragon Gate - and started a walking tour.  The tour just pointed out a couple different shops, the public square and its history, and the history of some of the buildings.  Our favorite stop in Chinatown was at a fortune cookie factory!  We got to see the cookies being folded, got to taste them warm & fresh, and even purchased a bag of "adult" cookies.

(Dragon Gate marking the official entrance into Chinatown)

(Chinatown Lanterns)

(Bean slept the whole first half of our Chinatown walk.  I just carried her in the carrier while she slept.  Then we transferred her to the stroller until it was time to head back to our apartment.)

We headed to lunch at a deli and then headed over to Grace Cathedral.  The Cathedral is home to many mosaics, stained glass windows, and two labyrinths -one inside and one outside.  Many come to meditate as they walk the labyrinth mazes.

(Grace Cathedral, the outdoor labyrinth is located at the top of the stairs to the right.)

(Inside the cathedral)

(Posing inside the Cathedral -- notice the un-socked feet.  Keeping socks on was a constant battle all week.  I discovered she had one pair of knee high socks with us that it took her a long time to work off.  She pretty much wore those all week, but I'd let her take them off when the sun was out.)

(Looking up at the stained glass window)

(Outdoor labyrinth.  You can see the starting point right in the middle on the edge.  You just walk the path as it winds around itself until you reach the center.  At a leisurely pace, it takes 5-10 min to complete.)

After visiting the church, we walked downhill to go visit the Cable Car Museum.  It was sort of a hole in the wall kind of set up, but it was pretty neat!  They had some old style cable cars and equipment on display.  But the really neat part was seeing the cables in motion.  The whole basement was open and you could look down and view the cables moving and read about how the cables run and move the cars.

(Cable Car Museum)

(Looking down into "the basement" at the cables.  The cables wound around those big wheels in a figure 8 pattern before circling back under the street.  It's crazy to think that as we were watching the cables, cars were attaching and detaching and moving along the road.)

(How the cable cars originally looked.  There was a front car that had all the equipment and pulled a passenger car with it.)

We could definitely tell that our trip was nearing its end by how worn out we felt by mid afternoon.  We headed back to the apartment to rest and recuperate for the evening.  Steve laid down and took a nap while Bean and I ventured down the block to a little mini-mart for some snacks.  After relaxing, we headed out just before dinner to travel to the Fort Mason area and go to an even bigger Off The Grid event.  There were around 30 food trucks, tons of people, and even some game tents set up.

We felt like such locals knowing about the food truck organization and being able to experience it.  The tamales stand that we ate at on Wednesday night was there, and I had been eyeing a Parmesan corn on the cob from it.  I pulled the trigger and got it Friday night.  My corn on the cob should have been free from all the advertising I did for the stand, haha.  I had at least 6 people come up and ask me where I got the corn.  It was delicious!  And I will admit, since being home, I have tried to duplicate that corn on the cob (sour cream, Parmesan, and a little hot sauce), but it's just not the same.

(Off The Grid @ Fort Mason.  Off The Grid is the organization that helps organize the food truck events.  They have a website that explains the rotation of the trucks and locations according to each night.)

(There was a dj playing music while we there, but there was a stage set up for a live band to perform later.  We didn't last that long to see the band.  We had to leave for "baby's" bedtime.)

(MMMmmmmm, finally got my corn on the cob.  I didn't realize there would be hot sauce on it, or I would have asked them to leave it off.  The tacos we had just eaten were pretty spicy and I didn't want to push the spicy limit.  I did scrape a little off, but it still tasted oh so good.)

(This by far was our favorite - a warm, fresh, strawberry glazed donut.  MMmmmmmm)

On Friday night alone, we ate authentic tacos, Parmesan corn on the cob, strawberry glazed donut, and a Japanese strawberry shortcake crepe dessert.  Add that to the Korean pork, and the pork and chicken tamales from Wednesday night, and I'd say we really enjoyed the food trucks -- yum!  There were some others that we wanted to try, but didn't want to wait in the long lines or pay the prices.  There was a cotton candy stand, crème brûlée stand, and an ice cream taco stand that we were eyeing, but we figured our donut and crepe was sufficient.

We went home full and happy and prepared for our last day in San Francisco.